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Tilting at Windmills

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January 26, 2010

RNC 'PURITY TEST' STILL ON THE TABLE.... Just two months ago, some activists on the Republican National Committee came up with an idea: what the party really needs in 2010 is a "purity test."

The idea, pushed by right-wing lawyer James Bopp Jr., would mandate that all Republican candidates agree with at least eight of 10 points on a party platform. If you're deemed insufficiently conservative on three or more issues, no party backing for you.

The RNC is getting ready to ponder the matter this week at a meeting in Hawaii, and it's apparently occurred to some party officials that Sen.-elect Scott Brown (R-Mass.), the party's new golden boy, probably would have failed the purity test and been ineligible for party support during the special election.

[S]ome moderate Republicans are circulating another e-mail arguing that in fact, a different reading of Mr. Brown's record -- a difference choice from his career of quotes and votes -- could lead to a his failing the Reagan test.

As much as he opposed Mr. Obama's health care plan, he voted for the law passed in Massachusetts that has provided the model for President Obama's proposal -- including a mandate on individuals to purchase insurance. [...]

Conservative leaders who say, in the light of victory, that Mr. Brown passed the test may have easily found the grounds to make precisely the opposite argument had he lost the vote last Tuesday. This is one of the reasons why officials of the Republican National Committee are quietly lobbying to kill the Bopp resolution and trying to come up with an alternative by the vote on Friday.

I still have a hard time believing the RNC will actually accept this -- it would likely block party backing for too many candidates Republicans need to win this year -- but the party has certainly done incomprehensible things before.

Kathleen Parker got this right, when she called the proposal a "suicide pact," that signals to Republican candidates, "Thinking people need not apply."

One can only assume the DNC is praying the resolution is approved.

Steve Benen 1:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

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Comments

We are talking about the Republican party here. What they will end up doing is pass the purity test, and then lie about whichever candidates they want to fund who supposedly fail it.

In other words, how dare you even suggest that Scott Brown wouldn't pass the purity test. You need to apologize for that right now. Have you not seen Cosmo? He's pure as snow.

Posted by: Shalimar on January 26, 2010 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Lord knows I am!

Posted by: Rook on January 26, 2010 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Not only would Ronald Reagan not have passed the purity test, but he would have been adamantly oppsed to it -- see his eleventh commandment for Republicans.

C'mon GOP, with luck you will destroy yourselves before the Democrats do.

Posted by: freelunch on January 26, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

There's a difference between a big tent and an unruly mob. Republicans know that minimum standards are necessary, while democrats do not. That's why Republicans are a big tent and democrats are an unruly mob.

Posted by: Al on January 26, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Ahhh, Republican hubris and self-destructive tendencies are still going strong. That's the best news I've heard in a while, at least since the Cowboys lost.

Posted by: Basilisc on January 26, 2010 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

(by which I meant the Cowboys losing was the last good thing.)

Posted by: Basilisc on January 26, 2010 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

CNN's bald guy just identifies Steny Hoyer as a republican representative, then apologizes as he introduces the response from John Boehner's spokesman Michael Steele. This was minutes after he admonished Jared Bernstein to get everyone in the administration on the same page with the number of stimulus jobs created.

Posted by: tomj on January 26, 2010 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

You effectively resolved your own conundrum; Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's seat, a victory so symbolic that Republicans will be starry-eyed about it for months. For the first time in a long time, "good news for Republicans" actually was good news for Republicans. The notion that he would be subject to any kind of test other than measuring him for his new office chair is absurd.

Any Republican who defeats a Democrat for a seat will be considered to have passed the purity test, at least until they don't need him any more. I presume this is all just idle speculation anyway - sort of verbally jacking off - since it should have sunk in by now that Republicans are accomplished dirty-fighting strategists. As such they will prostitute any ideal, sacrifice any principle and disregard any benchmark of decency if it comes between them and winning. Anybody who still doesn't recognize the menace of this slash-and-burn approach, not to mention its appeal to Real Murkins, fails to do so at their peril.

Posted by: Mark on January 26, 2010 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

I am a loss trying to understand the value of this "test." Can someone call him/herself a Republican at will? If the RNC doesn't support that person, how can he/she run as a Republican? Will state/county organizations have to follow these rules or only national-level candidates? Lots to consider....

Posted by: Liberal@MediaElite.com on January 26, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, I'd like to propose a simple Democrat Purity Test. Use an X-Ray machine to see if they have a freakin' spine.

Posted by: chrenson on January 26, 2010 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

"The RNC is getting ready to ponder the matter this week at a meeting in Hawaii"

Hawaii eh? Sounds like a pretty exotic place to hold a meeting for a bunch of "real" Americans.

Posted by: Random Canadian on January 26, 2010 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Kudos, Random Canadian! I was thinking the exact same thing!

How's about the GOP does an electro-cardiogram and a brain scan. If there's no brainwaves, then they got themselves a Republican. If there's no brainwaves and no heartbeat, they got themselves a true-red Republican presidential candidate.

Posted by: Gridlock on January 26, 2010 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

Meanwhile, I'd like to propose a simple Democrat Purity Test. Use an X-Ray machine to see if they have a freakin' spine.

chrenson wins the best snark of the day! And I'll chip in ten bucks towards the x-ray machine.

Posted by: Gringo Noraca on January 26, 2010 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Here are a couple of extra questions for the Republican "purity test":
How many took a "free" ride to Hawaii on
corporate jets?
How many took private jets?
During a deep recession, why did the RNC
plan the meeting in Hawaii?
Since when do "real" Americans recognize
Hawaii as part of the United States of America?
Who is really footing the bill for this folly?

Posted by: Carol A on January 26, 2010 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

The idea, pushed by right-wing lawyer James Bopp Jr. [...]

If he's pushing it, then it's gotta be right and Kathleen Parker is just a wet chick for saying otherwise. Bopp-be-bop is a big-time hero, not just any a-dime-a-dozen wingnut. I thought I recognised the name and here he is:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/25/us/politics/25bopp.html?scp=1&sq=A%20Quest%20to%20End%20Spending%20Rules%20For%20Campaigns&st=cse

Posted by: exlibra on January 26, 2010 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK
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